Joco Opinion

Danedri Herbert comes clean: I am Gidget Southway

With this column, I’m about to dole out a few morsels and feed the internet trolls, something I try hard not to do. For that, I apologize.

I have a not-so-anonymous blog on the interwebs. It’s languished in the virtual world for more than four years at www.insideksgop.com, where I’ve slowly built a pretty decent readership. Mostly, I write about Kansas politics. I write unabashedly from a Christian, center-right perspective.

Because liberal activists are accusing me of professional misconduct, and because Kansas City Star editors prefer their writers be on-the-record all of the time, I am coming out of the closet.

I didn’t know about The Star’s requirement, but frankly, I’m kind of shocked it took this long for people to put Gidget Southway, my blogging nom de plume, and Danedri Herbert together. My writing style is hardly generic.

It’s not unusual for people on the opposite political side to attempt to run conservatives out of the marketplace. Cake bakers must use their talents to craft cakes for gay weddings, but Bruce Springsteen isn’t obligated to perform a concert in a state with policies with which he disagrees.

When attempts to damage economically fail, the other side moves on to attempts to silence the opposition. Conservatives are often protested right off of college campuses before they even set foot in a lecture hall. Right-leaning sportscasters are run out of the broadcast booth.

Sadly, for Kansas liberal activists, I am not on the public dole. I’m not on the payroll of any politicians. No one has ever paid me to write a single thing on my blog, yet.

Ironically, I decided to make my blog anonymous, in part, because I suspected people would eventually be looking for ways to damage me personally. I write controversial things, although as an aside, I’m always surprised at which things set the liberals off. I’ve said far more emotionally charged things than voters should fire Kansas Supreme Court justices.

I don’t particularly like people knowing my politics before they know me. Liberals love me, actually. I have an entire, private Facebook page devoted to “Liberal Friends of Danedri Herbert.” But I think you have to know me to love me, and Google is not friendly to people with unusual names like mine. Potential employers and people who Google everyone they meet find me immediately via internet search engines.

I’ve also had concerns about my safety and that of my family. There are a lot of crazy people in the world, and they sometimes seek more than simply economic damages. I’ve been recognized as a Star columnist and followed around Target. I’ve had to ask the police to keep an eye on someone who was tracking me around the internet making crude comments about me. This person’s interest was piqued by my political scribbling. It takes a lot of time and energy to track down everything I’ve ever written — I’ve had a long journalism and freelancing career — and make rude comments on every single one. When I discovered the guy lived in my hometown, I alerted police that this person appeared to have an unhealthy interest in me.

I am proud of my blog. Because a lot of people are willing to talk to me without going on the record, I am able to write a lot of things that a traditional newspaper would never print. I’ve broken a few major stories there. Most recently, I broke the story that Congressman Mike Pompeo was considering running against Sen. Jerry Moran. I don’t curse, and I don’t post things I wouldn’t say to someone in person. I am as hard (sometimes harder) on Republicans as I am on Democrats.

Because I’ve been outed, however, I’ll refocus my attention. In the next week or so, I was planning to write about the skeleton that was recently stuffed back into one Kansas congressman’s closet. I intended to update information about the investigation into the former Johnson County election commissioner. Instead, I think I’ll redirect my attention to some of the shadow groups, like Kansas Values Institute and others who will be active in elections this fall. It’s time they came out from the shadows into the sunshine.

I wield a mighty pen, and a longstanding tradition of not feeding internet trolls. You will always be able to find me on the internet. There’s no amount of name-calling or character assassination that can ever silence me there.

Danedri Herbert writes monthly. Reach her at danedrih@gmail.com. On Twitter: @danedri.

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